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Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste

 
Gail Omvedt (Author)
Synopsis

As a consequence of the recent activities and utterances of the aggressive forces of Hinduism (or Hindutva), the twin issues of religion and identity are at the forefront of social and political discourse in India. This has also led to a growing interest in Buddhism and a reconsideration of the role of Christianity and Islam in India as well as given rise to a far-reaching reassessment of the cultural, spiritual and artistic heritage of the subcontinent. This fascinating book constitutes a unique exploration of 22,500 years of the development of Buddhism, Brahmanism and caste in India, taking Dr. Ambedkar’s interpretation of Buddhism as its starting point. Gail Omvedt has researched both the original sources of the Buddhist canon and recent literature to provide an absorbing account of the historical, social, political and philosophical aspects of Buddhism. In the process, she discusses a wide range of important issues of current concern. Providiing an entirely new interpretation of the origins and development of the caste system, which boldly challenges the ‘Hindutva’ version of history, this book will attract a wide readership among all those who are concerned with the state of cotemporary India’s polity and social fabric.

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About the author

Gail Omvedt

Born in Minneapolis, USA, Gail Omvedt is an Indian citizen. She has an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been living in India since 1978, settled in Kasegaon Village in southern Maharashtra, with her husband, Bharat Patankar, and other members of an Indian joint family. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. Among her numerous books focusing on social and economic issues are Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste (2003), Dalits Visions (1995), Dalits and the Democratic Revolution (1994), Reinventing Revolution: New Social movements and the Socialist Tradition in India (1993) and Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The Non-Brahman Movement in Maharashtra (1966). Of late, she has been involved in translations from the Marathi into English in collaboration with Bharat Patankar. If Gandhi was Bapu, the father of a society in which he tried to inject equality while maintaining the Hindu framework, Ambedkar was Baba to his people and the great liberator from that framework.

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Bibliographic information

Title Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste
Author Gail Omvedt
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0761996648, 9788132110286
length 324p., Bibliography; Index; 22cm.